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Fitness trackers and watches: The key to intentional wellness

Track your activity, vitals and sleep, and achieve your fitness goals

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By EMS1 Staff

A consistent, intentional wellness strategy is crucial for first responders due to the physical and mental demands of the job.

Maintaining health and wellness helps you perform at your best, manage stress and reduce the risk of injury on or off the job.

Fitness trackers and watches can play a significant role in supporting wellness goals by providing real-time health data, tracking physical activity and promoting healthy habits.

Fitness equipment essentials
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Features to look for in fitness trackers and watches

  1. Heart rate monitoring. Continuous heart rate tracking helps monitor cardiovascular health and workout intensity
  2. Sleep tracking. With the prevalence of sleep disorders in first responders, the ability to analyze your sleep patterns and quality to ensure restful recovery periods is essential to any wellness plan
  3. GPS. Helpful for planning running, biking or hiking routes and making sure you can find your way back even in unfamiliar areas, GPS tracking can also help measure your distances
  4. Water resistance. Consider how you’ll be using your device and if water resistance (for all-weather activities) or waterproof durability (for swimming) is a must for usability in various conditions
  5. Battery life. With your demanding schedule, a long battery life will ensure your device can keep up with you all-shift long
  6. Compatibility. Ensuring your fitness device can sync easily with smartphones and other health apps will help with comprehensive data tracking

Top choices for fitness trackers and watches

Fitbit Charge 5

The Fitbit Charge 5 enhances workout routines with a daily readiness score, stress management through an EDA sensor and heart health tracking with ECG capabilities. It monitors vital health metrics like SpO2 and skin temperature, and has a built-in GPS for real-time pace and distance tracking. It offers up to 7 days of battery life, 24/7 heart rate monitoring and sleep quality insights.

Apple Watch Series 9

The Apple Watch Series 9 extends advanced health, safety and activity features, offering temperature sensing, ECGs on demand, irregular rhythm notifications, detailed sleep stage tracking with REM, core or deep sleep stages, and insights into both physical and emotional well being. It also delivers workout metrics and has safety features like fall detection and crash detection, connecting to emergency services when necessary.

WHOOP 4.0 with 12 Month Subscription

Professional golfer Nick Watney, the first player on the PGA Tour to be diagnosed with COVID-19, credits his WHOOP device with flagging his high respiratory rate – leading to him getting tested and despite his lack of symptoms very early in the pandemic.

WHOOP 4.0 is a comprehensive fitness and health monitoring device designed for first-time members. This package includes a 12-month WHOOP membership, 4.0 hardware, Onyx SuperKnit band and a wearable, waterproof battery pack. The WHOOP device continuously monitors various physiological data such as heart rate, respiratory rate, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature, blood oxygen levels, daily activity and sleep.

The WHOOP system is personalized, offering insight-driven recommendations to improve overall health and optimize performance. Users can log daily behaviors in the WHOOP Journal, which helps identify habits that impact sleep and recovery. WHOOP is also FSA/HSA eligible.

Fitbit Inspire 3

The Fitbit Inspire 3 offers a suite of health and wellness features, including a daily readiness score to gauge your physical readiness, active zone minutes to monitor exercise intensity and 24/7 heart rate tracking. With over 20 exercise modes and automatic exercise recognition, it motivates you to stay active.

For stress management, it provides a daily stress management score, mindfulness and relaxation breathing sessions, along with notifications for irregular heart rhythms and SpO2 levels. It also offers automatic sleep tracking, a personalized sleep profile and a daily sleep score. It boasts up to a 10-day battery life.

Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is designed for fitness enthusiasts who seek a comprehensive approach to monitoring their health and fitness. It offers a wide range of features including body energy monitoring, animated workouts directly on your wrist and Pulse Ox sensors. Its sensors are capable of tracking over 20 biometrics, ensuring personalized health data. The battery life? Up to 8 days in smartwatch mode and up to 6 hours in GPS and music mode.

Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen)

Need an Apple Watch on a budget? Look no further. The Apple Watch SE includes essential health and safety features like fall detection, crash detection, emergency SOS, and notifications for irregular heart rhythms and abnormal heart rates, but does not offer the more advanced features found in the Series 9, such as ECG and temperature sensing.

Fitbit Versa 3

The Fitbit Versa features sleep stage tracking, a daily readiness score for workout or recovery days, built-in GPS for phone-free activity tracking and active zone minutes for exercise effort recognition. It includes enhanced heart rate monitoring with PurePulse 2.0 and boasts over 6 days of battery life.

Oura Ring Gen3 Horizon - Smart Ring

If you’re looking for a different option, the Oura Ring is a discreet-yet-powerful tool for anyone looking to enhance their understanding of personal health and well being.

The smart ring offers a comprehensive look at your sleep, activity, stress and heart rate. It monitors over 20 biometrics and is compatible with both iOS and Android – allowing for integration with popular health apps. The ring has a battery life that can last up to 7 days on a single charge, providing a week of continuous health monitoring without the need for frequent recharging.

How fitness trackers and watches can improve wellness

Fitness trackers and watches offer several benefits:

  • Monitoring vital signs. Track heart rate, sleep patterns and stress levels to stay aware of overall health
  • Activity tracking. Keep tabs on steps, calories burned and exercise routines to ensure adequate physical activity
  • Health alerts. Receive notifications for irregular heart rates or reminders to move, helping prevent prolonged inactivity
  • Goal setting. Set and achieve fitness goals with personalized insights and progress tracking

EMS1 is using generative AI to create some content that is edited and fact-checked by our editors.